Meditation is something that I've always wanted to try for years now as I keep hearing all about its long-term benefits. The most appealing of these benefits for me is how it could increase your ability to focus. As a software developer, I know how critical focus is in getting things done. Being able to easily turn your attention to the task at hand, to get into the flow, could significantly increase productivity. It's especially important in today's age where distractions are so easy to come by.
I've finally decided to give it a chance last week and just recently finished a 7-day guided meditation program using the app Calm.
It's funny how hard it is to do something where you do nothing. It's really hard to stay still and just focus on one thing, our minds just tend to wander.
What finally got me to do it was Tim Ferriss' latest book "Tools of Titans", a book of things he learned from interviewing over 200 world-class performers. There were a few quotes there about meditation that I liked:
Over 80% of the interviewees have some form of daily mindfulness or meditation practice.
It's a "meta-skill" that improves everything else. You're starting your day by practicing focus when it doesn't matter (sitting on a couch for 10 minutes) so that you can focus better later when it does matter.
If you don't have 20 minutes to delve yourself through meditation, then that means you really need 2 hours.
Calm's free 7-day guided mediation program really helped and provides a great introduction to meditation. Each session is 10 minutes long and with a narrator guiding you through the process (a lady with a calm voice), it actually didn't feel long at all. She guides you through what to do when your mind starts wandering (such as focusing on your breath), bringing awareness, and reminding you that it's ok to get distracted.
I continued the 10-minute practice and I'm on day 9 so far. I haven't really felt much of a difference yet in my ability to focus, though I wasn't really expecting to see any difference in this short amount of time. I plan to keep going and post an update after 30 days of consistent practice.
For 10 minutes a day, there's really nothing to lose, but the potential for gain could be huge. I just don't see any reason to not at least try it out.